Meet Carnegie Mellon’s MBA Class Of 2018


Catherine Hidlebaugh

Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Outgoing, curious engineer with a passion for the outdoors and traveling.

Hometown: Naples, FL / Overland Park, KS

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love exploring the world and have been to 28 countries, but my favorite trip was going through the locks of the Panama Canal on a ship!

Undergraduate School and Major: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology – BS in Mechanical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Operations Project Manager – SPX Corporation

Manufacturing/Industrial Engineer – SPX Corporation

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment so far is being one of the engineers on a patent for a multi axis joint in the combustion section of a jet engine for Rolls-Royce.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? In terms of selecting a school, rankings are important, but “fit” was one of the most important features for me. I only applied to five schools and spent months conducting research and speaking to students, alumni,and staff to narrow down my school list. I also focused on my interests, which are in technology and operations management. I had an affinity for small programs that were very helpful, collaborative, and involved. Tepper went above and beyond in communicating with me before I had even walked on campus, it was really incredible.

In completing essays and interviews, I wanted the admissions officers to feel my presence in the room when they were reading my essays and conducting interviews. In order for them to assess whether or not I had the “fit” for their program, I wanted them to get a complete understanding of who I was apart from what they read on my application. I spent a lot of time reflecting, prepping and then focusing on enjoying the interview experience.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Coming from a manufacturing and construction background, I wanted a diverse program where data, analytics, and innovation were at the forefront of my coursework. I wanted a small program where I would be able to form life-long friendships with peers and staff and receive formal leadership coaching from the Accelerate Leadership Center. Tepper has a proven track record for the ability to go into almost any industry and function after graduation. However, my deciding factor was all about the people. The students, alumni and staff were always so excited to speak with me and really cared about helping me make the right decision. The close knit, collaborative culture at Tepper was really exciting to see first-hand, and I knew that Tepper was where I belonged.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I am interested in finding work that I am really passionate about and will allow me to be constantly challenged. The ability to work with intelligent, hardworking peers, and have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the business are very important factors for my career.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Hopefully I brought some humor and fun to the class and that I was open-minded and tried new things (food, traveling, exploring new cultures) while also encouraging others to do the same.